Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature year-round requires an HVAC system large enough to handle the job. If your home has features like high ceilings, skylights, or exposed beams, you must take that into account when sizing your system. Here’s how features like high ceilings affect your home’s HVAC system.

More Volume Means More Capacity

The most obvious way that high ceilings affect your HVAC system is that they increase the volume of the rooms you’re trying to heat and cool. Naturally, the larger the room, the larger the HVAC system you’ll need to heat and cool it. So, when your HVAC contractor performs the calculations to determine the right HVAC size that your home needs, they’re going to start with the total volume of your home’s interior.

If you’re wondering how to figure this out for yourself, there are a few things you need to know first. One is that it takes more power to cool a room than to heat it. So, you’ll always want to size your HVAC based on your home’s cooling needs. The second is that your calculations will rarely lead you to an exact cooling capacity. More often than not, you’ll end up with a figure that’s in between the capacities of standard HVAC units. In that case, you should always round up.

To get a rough estimate of your home’s cooling capacity needs, you can use a simplified formula. First, multiply the length and width of each room you need to cool. Then, add the results of all of the rooms together. That will give you the total square footage of your home. Since it takes around 25 BTUs of cooling power to cool 1 square foot, multiply your square footage by 25. Then, to account for your high ceilings, multiply the result by 1.25. The number you end up with is approximately how many BTUs it will take to cool your home.

High Ceilings Affect Ductwork Design

High ceilings will also affect your home’s HVAC system by altering the ductwork required to efficiently heat and cool it. Because hot air rises and cold air sinks, it’s often necessary to add multiple return air registers to help the HVAC system maintain efficiency all year round.

Ideally, you’ll want an air return up high to pull heat from the high ceilings in the summer months and one down low to pull in cold air during the winter. That can help your HVAC system to access the air it requires to maintain your home’s temperature no matter the season.

Alternately, if your home has a mini-split ductless system, high ceilings might require the placement of air handlers higher on the walls to compensate. In those cases, however, the correct placement of air handlers will come down to manufacturer specifications. Some mini-split systems work well in rooms with high ceilings, and others don’t.

Additional Airflow Options for High Ceilings

It’s also worth pointing out that homes with high ceilings might benefit from ceiling fans that provide additional airflow within each room. They’re especially helpful in homes with high ceilings that suffer from uneven heating and cooling. By pushing warmer air down from the ceilings, fans can improve your comfort in the winter. And in the summer, they remove trapped hot air from your high ceilings and push it to where your HVAC system can exchange it with cooler air.

An HVAC Expert Can Help

Any way you look at it, a home with high ceilings will have additional heating and cooling needs compared to one with standard ceiling heights. That’s why your best bet is to leave the work up to an expert HVAC company like Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. We’ve been installing and servicing HVAC systems in the Billings, MT area for over 35 years and have designed systems for homes of all shapes and sizes. That means we have the experience necessary to help you choose the right HVAC solution for your home’s needs.

And no matter the type of HVAC you have, we offer a complete range of maintenance and repair options to keep it in perfect condition. So, when the time comes to install a new HVAC system or when your existing one needs repair, we should always be the first place you call. We also provide indoor air quality and fireplace services.

If your home has high ceilings and you’d like to find out if your existing HVAC system could use replacement or alteration, contact Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC today!

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